Sm. London: James R. Osgood McIlvaine & Co., 1891. Sm. 4to, (8), 159pp., pictorial title-page, 4 plates, and numerous illustrations and decorations in text by Ricketts and Shannon. Original pictorial cloth gilt, covers spotted and a bit discoloured, later ink inscription and two bookplates. In a blue quarter morocco slipcase. First edition, 1000 copies printed, this copy signed at the front by Ricketts and Shannon. We can find no record of other signed copies. Although Wilde remained effusive about the decoration of his book (and defended it from public criticism), the printing of Shannon's four plates had been difficult. As a result of some fault in the printing process, a dusty deposit appeared on each plate, which was only noticed after the book was bound. Unfortunately the solution - wiping each plate with a flannel - removed the surface of the print and left the images rather faint, and in some cases, almost invisible. Also the binding has proved over time to be very susceptible to soiling and spotting. This copy is about average or better than most copies. Turn of the Century, 6. (Inventory #: 109918)
Books and manuscripts in all fields, especially medieval illuminated and text manuscripts; material on California, Hawaii, and Pacific voyages; illustrated books and fine bindings from the 15th through the 20th century; children's books from 1750 to 1950; and fine press printing. William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Frognall Dibdin are special interests.
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